Data management technology driven and sustained by the eResearch community
The technology of iRODS (Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System) was first funded by a government grant in 1995 and subsequently developed by several academic institutions that saw data management as a growing problem. The code was open-source from the beginning but the development was done on a volunteer basis. It became clear as the scale of the problem grew that a more formal solution was required. The iRODS Consortium was founded in 2013 as a group of professional developers based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
This group is sustained by a membership model and, today, the iRODS Consortium has over 30 members spanning the world. These members are both academic and commercial, but they all have similar requirements in their institutions. Today, iRODS technology is a product of both the developers and the community. Code is contributed and regular community meetings are held to highlight the needs of all of the members. Working groups are formed to address the changing requirements of the members as the scale and complexity of data generation and maintenance changes dynamically over time. Decisions regarding the disposition of data can now be automated and based on metadata which can change depending on citation or usage. Data can be automatically gathered from sensors and instruments, sorted by metadata, processed, and the products distributed or published in completely automated workflows.
The iRODS community is comprised of academic and commercial researchers but the discourse is active and the resultant product is based upon consensus. Today, worldwide, FAIR discovery and directed dissemination of eResearch information is being accomplished in sites controlling tens of petabytes of data with this open-source technology.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Fellinger is a Data Management Technologist and Storage Scientist with the iRODS Consortium. He has over three decades of engineering experience including film systems, video processing devices, ASIC design and development, GaAs semiconductor manufacture, RAID and storage systems, and file systems. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University and holds patents in diverse areas of technology.